If Your Partner Feels Insecure About This, They Could Be More Likely to Cheat, Therapists Say
And they may not be eager to bring it up in conversation with you.
We all have our insecurities: Even the folks who seem like they're unfailingly confident often have something that they're self-conscious about (although they might not admit it). People deal with their insecurities differently, but simply trying to ignore them is not the best long-term strategy, and it can affect all aspects of life—including romantic relationships. One insecurity, in particular can be especially troublesome and even lead to infidelity, therapists and relationship experts say. Read on to find out what could make your partner more likely to cheat.
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Insecure partners often seek out a "confidence boost."
There's no way to predict with 100 percent accuracy whether or not someone will stray in a relationship or marriage, but there are certain factors that increase the odds. Past research has suggested there are a few external predictors, including age and even the depth of their voice. But the things we feel internally, like a sense of inadequacy or inferiority, can also be detrimental.
"Insecure people constantly ask themselves questions, 'Why are they with me? They can't figure out why their current partner chose them,'" Amelia Prinn, relationship expert, writer, and editor at herway.net, tells Best Life.
Prinn suggests that these people are afraid of getting hurt, which causes them to look for a "confidence boost" outside of the relationship. By doing so, they hope to reassure themselves that they're desirable—as well as attractive.
Your partner's looks could be driving them to cheat.
We're taught that we need to put our best face forward in every aspect of life, and that's often taken literally, which is why we strive to look our best. If your partner feels like their best isn't enough and they aren't attractive or good-looking, that insecurity can trigger a need to find validation outside of your relationship, experts say.
"When we lack security in our attractiveness or self-esteem, this is a risky ingredient in the recipe of self-sabotaging behavior," Erin Dierickx, LMFTA based in Seattle, explains. "When we don't feel worthy or good enough, whether it is conscious or not (usually not), we can sometimes act in ways that confirm that. One of those ways might be cheating."
Steve Carleton, LCSW, CACIII, executive director at Gallus Detox, suggests that your partner might have specific feelings about their appearance and feel they're not attractive enough to be with you. "They may want to 'prove' their worth by finding someone else who will find them attractive and give them the validation that they feel is missing in their relationship," he says.
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Your partner might not verbalize their insecurities.
Unfortunately, you may not know that your partner feels insecure or unhappy with their looks—whether it has to do with their overall appearance, their weight, or something else. They may avoid speaking up or talking to you as a direct result of their own insecurities, according to Prinn.
"They are scared of getting rejected by their partners because they don't feel worthy of their attention, affection, and effort," she says.
These people may indirectly tell you through some of their actions, including being overly critical of themselves, taking things too personally, and struggling to be intimate, among other warning signs, Prinn adds.
According to Carleton, if your partner has already started looking outside of the relationship, you might notice changes in their behavior. They may avoid physical contact, be on their phone or computer late at night or when they think you're not around, or act more secretive or distant. These changes can be innocent and don't always point to infidelity, but if something feels off, experts recommend addressing it and speaking openly and honestly.
Other insecurities can come into play, too.
In addition to insecurity in their appearance, your partner could feel inadequate in other areas, experts explain, which is why communication is so key in relationships.
"Financially-related insecurities can also play a role in why someone may cheat," Carleton tells Best Life. "For example, if one partner is doing much better financially than the other, this could lead to feelings of resentment or even jealousy from the less-fortunate partner, who may feel that their efforts to contribute are no longer valued. This can lead them to seek validation and appreciation in other relationships."
If your partner is insecure about the status of the relationship or commitment level, they may feel compelled to look elsewhere. But Dierickx stresses that insecurity and low self-esteem don't automatically mean someone is going to cheat, and ensuring that your partner feels valued and seen can be more helpful than you think.
"Turning towards our partners with openness, curiosity, and empathy in an effort to better understand their struggles and support them can go an incredibly long way," she says. "This is a solid place to start if any warning signs are showing up. Or perhaps reaching out for couples therapy can provide some clarity on the patterns within the relationship and ways to shift them towards joy and longevity."